CHICAGO, IL (WNBA) — With their season on the line, the Chicago Sky returned to their old stomping grounds, the UIC Pavilion, on Friday night for Game 3 of the 2014 WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile. Despite 23 points from Elena Delle Donne, the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Chicago Sky 87-82 to win their third WNBA Championship.
With Mercury center Brittney Griner sidelined (eye) the Sky took advantage of the open lane, scoring 18 of their 22 first quarter points in the paint and the remaining four from the free throw line. The Mercury could not find a match for Chicago’s one-two punch, led by Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne who combined for 16 points in the first quarter. The teams were deadlocked at 22 after the first ten minutes of action.
To start the second quarter, the Sky continued to dominate the paint scoring four quick points inside to force Phoenix’s defense to collapse. Allie Quigley led the Sky with seven points in the quarter but a late layup by Mistie Bass gave Phoenix a 45-43 lead at the half. Courtney Vandersloot set a WNBA Finals record with eight assists in the first half.
Chicago shot 46.7% from the field in the third quarter to regain the lead. With an assist at the three-minute mark in the third quarter, Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot gained her 11th assist, tying a WNBA Finals record. A step-back jumper from Quigley sparked a 9-2 run over the final two minutes to give the Sky a 63-61 lead at the end of the third.
Phoenix forced two shot clock violations in the midst of a 9-4 run that gave the Mercury a 72-67 lead with 5:51 lead in the fourth quarter. But the Sky battled back with a 9-5 run of their own to cut the Mercury lead to one point with less than three minutes remaining. After a gritty defensive stop, Allie Quigley raced down court and nailed a pull-up jumper with less than 35 seconds left to tie the game at 82. Following a Phoenix timeout Diana Taurasi connected on a three-point play. Chicago had a chance to tie, but an three point attempt by Delle Donne in the closing seconds fell short allowing the Mercury to escape with the 87-82 victory. Delle Donne finished the game with 23 points and five rebounds while Fowles added 20 points and eight rebounds.
“Just the maturity that our team has shown is incredible and something that we will take into next season,” said Sky guard/forward Elena Delle Donne. “Everybody talks about our age, but the adversity that this team was able to face and get through it is something that you don’t see. We’ve matured so much and I’m extremely proud of the group.”
**NOTE — Wilmington Tamera Young scored 5 points for Chicago on Friday. Young is a Laney High graduate.
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COLUMBIA, SC (UNCW) — COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Jamie Dell’s goal in the 82nd minute was the difference as UNCW topped 17th-ranked South Carolina, 2-1, in men’s soccer action on Friday at Eugene E. Stone Stadium.
The Seahawks improved to 3-1-1 with their second road win of the season while the Gamecocks dropped to 3-1. The win snapped a four-game losing streak to USC.
“This is a huge result for us on the road at South Carolina,” said UNCW Head Coach Aidan Heaney. “This is a difficult place to go and win, and Coach Berson has a talented team as shown by their national ranking this week. I thought we were a little soft to concede early, although a heck of a strike, but we rebounded well for the remainder of the half and managed to equalize when Freddy pounced on Brayden Smith’s header off the crossbar.”
On the winning goal, Dell was on the finishing end of a pass from Brayden Smith and ripped his shot past USC goalkeeper Marco Velez with 8:23 left in the contest from 15 yards out.
South Carolina grabbed an early lead in the ninth minute when Ive Burnett’s first goal of the season beat UNCW goalkeeper Sean Melvin.
Sophomore Freddy Nzekele drew the Seahawks even just before the half with his second goal of the season. Nzekele converted a rebound off a shot from Kellen Foster on the play at the 40:08 mark.
UNCW shutdown the Gamecocks, allowing just five total shots, including two in the second half. The Seahawks owned a 12-5 advantage in shots and 10-1 in corner kicks.
“In the second half I felt we created the better chances, their keeper made an incredible save on a shot from Jack Ward. Jamie finished his chance really well, and I was delighted the way we managed the game to deal an important win.”
“Brayden Smith had an outstanding debut as a freshman and looked like he had been with us for years, so delighted with his performance. But I thought the contribution from our bench was significant and was a major factor on the result.”
Melvin finished with one save while Velez was credited with five.
“Now we look forward to an always difficult game against Campbell who are 3-0 this season.”
UP NEXT: The Seahawks visit Campbell on Sept. 16 for a 6 p.m. start at the Eakes Athletics Complex.
NOTES: For Dell, it was his fifth game-winning goal of his career … UNCW topped #11 UNC Chapel Hill on the road last season, 1-0, for its win against a ranked opponent … Nzekele had his second game-tying goal of the season (Ohio State, 9/5).
WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — Stormy weather was the big winner Friday as the UNCW Women’s Tennis Beach Blast got under way at the UNCW courts, causing the weekend schedule to be shuffled.
The Seahawks opened play against rival East Carolina before rain pelted the courts at 1:45 p.m. Overall, just one match – Georgia vs. Virginia Tech – managed to be completed before inclement weather forced postponement the remainder of the day.
Second-day action begins at 8 a.m. Saturday with the Seahawks and Pirates resuming play in their match, followed by UNCW vs. Virginia Tech (9:30 a.m.) and Georgia vs. East Carolina (9:30 a.m.).
Georgia Vs. Virginia Tech
1).Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. Kelly Williford (VT) 6-3,6-3
2).Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Elene Cerezo-Codina (VT) 6-1,7-5
3).Marianna Gould (UGA) def. Sansitha Nandakumar (VT) 6-0, 6-2
4).Mia King (UGA) def. Katherine Butler (VT) 4-6,6-4,6-3
5).Laura Patterson (UGA) def. Sloan Barton (VT) 6-0, 6-0
SATURDAY, SEPT. 13
8:00 AM UNCW vs. East Carolina (Singles) (Resume) (8 Courts) (Cts.1-8)
9:30 AM UNCW vs. Virginia Tech (Doubles) (3 Courts) (Cts.1-3)
9:30 AM Georgia vs. East Carolina (Doubles) (2 Courts) (Cts.4-5)
*BREAK FOR LUNCH*
12:30 PM UNCW vs. Georgia (Doubles) (2 Courts) (Cts.1-2)
12:30 PM Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina (3 Courts) (Cts.4-6)
2:00 PM Georgia vs. East Carolina (Singles) (5 Courts) (Cts.5-9)
3:00 PM UNCW vs. Virginia Tech (Singles) (7 courts) (Cts.1-4,5-9 when open)
SUNDAY, SEPT. 14:
8:00 AM UNCW vs. ECU (Doubles) (4 courts) (Cts.1-4)
8:00 AM Georgia vs. Virginia Tech (Doubles) (2 Courts) (Cts.7-8)
9:00 AM UNCW vs. Georgia (Singles) (5 Courts)(Cts.1-5)
9:00 AM Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina (Singles) (4 courts) (Cts.6-9)
WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — A late-day thunderstorm didn’t dampen the spirits of the UNCW men’s tennis team as the Seahawks swept through 13 matches in perfect fashion on the opening day of the 2014 Seahawk Invitational Friday at Empie Park.
The Seahawks went 10-0 in doubles play early in the day and added three more victories in singles before rain raked the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex.
“I was very pleased with how we opened the tournament,” said Mait DuBois, UNCW’s eight-year head coach. “Not dropping a match in doubles or singles says a lot for such a young team playing in their first tournament.
“There is a lot of tennis yet to be played, but I feel good about our start. I am very pleased that five of our freshmen logged their first collegiate victories and I know it will be something they will always remember.”
In doubles action, senior Sam Williams and freshman Xander Veys picked up a couple victories to reach the finals of the Flight A Doubles bracket. The tandem will face Liberty’s Egon Samaai and Jorge Azuero in the finals Sunday at 9 a.m.
It will be an all-UNCW in Flight B Doubles as Taylor Cramer and Christiaan Van der Burgh will take on teammates Santtu Leskinen and Andres Torres at 9 a.m. Sunday.
In Flight C Doubles, UNCW’s Zach Hublitz and Gianlucca Massa will face teammate Javier Restrepo and Old Dominion’s Nikola Sijan in the championship match early Sunday.
Action continues in the event continues Saturday at 8 a.m. with singles play.
DAVIDSON, NC (UNCW) — UNCW claimed its six straight win as Morgan Kline’s 12 kills keyed the Seahawks sweep of host Davidson, 3-0, in the second match of the Wildcat Classic on Friday at the Belk Arena.
The Seahawks, who limited the Wildcats to a -.028 hitting average (22-25-108), ran their record to 8-1 with the win while the Wildcats dropped to 2-5.
Kline led the Seahawks for the seventh straight match in kills and was joined by Leah Gagliardi and Kristen Powell with eight and seven kills, respectively.
Defensively, Meredith Peacock totaled six blocks and Morgan Owney led the way with 14 digs. UNCW outblocked Davidson, 10-6, and held a 50-45 advantage in digs.
Kline added three aces for UNCW.
Emily Franklin had seven kills for DC and finished with a .429 hitting average. Morgan Shannon held match-high honors with 18 digs.
UP NEXT: The Seahawks play High Point and Charlotte at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, on Saturday.
NOTES: Kristen Powell is hitting .388 over her last two matches with just one hitting error (20-1-49) … UNCW evened its all-time record with Davidson (7-7) and avenged a 3-1 loss in 2012 … The Seahawks have outblocked opponents in eight-of-nine matches … There were only three lead changes in the entire match and the Seahawks led from wire-to-wire in the third set.
WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — The schedule of UNCW’s Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire Women’s Soccer Invitational is being adjusted after storms swept through the Cape Fear region late Friday.
In the opening game of the tournament, Elon scored with just over six minutes remaining in the game to edge Coastal Carolina, 1-0.
UNCW and Francis Marion then battled to a 1-1 score before lightning cleared the UNCW Soccer Stadium. Following several delays, the game was cancelled since it did not reach the 65-minute mark.
Here is the remaining tournament schedule:
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014
UNCW Vs. Francis Marion, Noon
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014
Elon Vs. Francis Marion, Noon
Monday, Sept. 15, 2014
UNCW Vs. Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m. **tentative due to officiating assignments
For updates on all games in the tournament, visit @UNCWAthletics on Twitter or @UNCWAthletics on Facebook
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